1. We understand the frustrations from commuters with the crowding situation on Bus Service 190 on 4th October. Many commuters had difficulty boarding the bus, and in some cases long wait for the bus on that night.
2. Bus service 190 generally operates at a high frequency of about 6 minutes (from New Bridge Road Terminal) on average throughout weekdays and weekends from 9pm to midnight.
3. LTA has investigated the cause of long waiting time for commuters at Thong Teck Building bus stop on 4th Oct. Instead of the usual 39 scheduled bus trips between 9pm to midnight, SMRTBuses operated only 33 trips due to a bus breakdown and traffic congestion along PIE and Chua Choa Kang Way. This led to a longer waiting time of up to 14 minutes and a build-up of commuters on buses that night. SMRT should have responded better to the delays caused by the bus breakdown and traffic congestion, and take measures to maintain service levels on service 190, which typically has high demand in the city area during the evenings.
4. Nevertheless, we recognise that there is higher demand for the bus service 190 on Friday nights, and have worked with SMRT Buses to run 6 additional half-way trips from 18 October. Empty buses will be deployed midway from Somerset Station bus stop along Orchard Road to help ease crowding along these stretches and ensure that commuters waiting along the route can board the bus on Friday nights. These 6 extra half-way trips are in addition to the 24 half-way scheduled trips that SMRT Buses is currently starting trips from YMCA bus stop.
5. We are also working with SMRT to study if there is feasibility to add additional trips on weekday evenings from 9.30pm to 10.30pm when shops along Orchard road close and there is higher ridership demand during this period.
6. Aside from injecting more bus trips, we have also asked SMRT to deploy more staff to the affected bus stops to help manage the commuters boarding the buses.
7. We seek the patience and understanding of the commuters as we continue to further raise service standards and enhance connectivity. The introduction of a new trunk bus service from Bukit Panjang to Orchard Road in mid-November 2013 under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme will provide commuters with another travel option and ease crowding on Service 190. Details of the new trunk service are being finalised and will be announced when ready.